Words to look for in USDA-regulated foods NOT labeled gluten-free

Words to look for in USDA-regulated foods NOT labeled gluten-free

In Honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Gluten Free Watchdog is writing a series of articles (the goal is one per day during the month of May) related to the gluten-free diet–currently the ONLY treatment for celiac disease.

Post (#21)…

As a reminder… the USDA regulates meat products, poultry products, egg products, and mixed food products containing more than 3% raw meat or 2% or more cooked meat or poultry.

Words to look for in the ingredients list of USDA-regulated foods NOT labeled gluten-free…

Look for the same words you look for in the ingredients list of foods regulated by the FDA plus an additional three words/ingredients:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Oats
  • Malt
    • (Unless a gluten-free grain is named as the source, such as corn malt)
  • Brewer’s yeast
    • (May be made from spent yeast and may be contaminated with gluten-containing grain and malt)
  • Yeast extract
    • (May be made from spent yeast and may be contaminated with gluten-containing grain and malt)

AND

  • Dextrin (unless a gluten-free source is named)
  • Modified food starch (unless a gluten-free source is named)
  • Starch (unless a gluten-free source is named; the single word starch in a USDA-regulated food means either “corn starch” or “wheat starch.”

Why look for these additional three ingredients?

USDA-regulated foods are not included under the FDA’s Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). As a result, allergen labeling is voluntary for USDA-regulated foods. Regardless, the USDA estimates that approximately 80% to 90% of food manufacturers under their jurisdiction comply with voluntary allergen labeling. However, if you come across any of the last three ingredients in a food regulated by the USDA, the source could be wheat starch and the word “wheat” does not have to be included in the ingredients list (like it does for FDA-regulated foods). That said, in the US, the source of these ingredients is usually corn.

Note: All ingredients in USDA-regulated foods must be listed by their “common or usual name.”

Tomorrow’s Post: Restaurants and gluten-free menu claims

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


©2013